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Proceedings Paper

aTmcam: a simple atmospheric transmission monitoring camera for sub 1% photometric precision
Author(s): Ting Li; D. L. DePoy; R. Kessler; D. L. Burke; J. L. Marshall; J. Wise; J.-P. Rheault; D. W. Carona; S. Boada; T. Prochaska; R. Allen
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Paper Abstract

Traditional color and airmass corrections can typically achieve ~0.02 mag precision in photometric observing conditions. A major limiting factor is the variability in atmospheric throughput, which changes on timescales of less than a night. We present preliminary results for a system to monitor the throughput of the atmosphere, which should enable photometric precision when coupled to more traditional techniques of less than 1% in photometric conditions. The system, aTmCam, consists of a set of imagers each with a narrow-band filter that monitors the brightness of suitable standard stars. Each narrowband filter is selected to monitor a different wavelength region of the atmospheric transmission, including regions dominated by the precipitable water, aerosol optical depth, etc. We have built a prototype system to test the notion that an atmospheric model derived from a few color indices measurements can be an accurate representation of the true atmospheric transmission. We have measured the atmospheric transmission with both narrowband photometric measurements and spectroscopic measurements; we show that the narrowband imaging approach can predict the changes in the throughput of the atmosphere to better than ~10% across a broad wavelength range, so as to achieve photometric precision less than 0.01 mag.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 84462L (24 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924792
Show Author Affiliations
Ting Li, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
D. L. DePoy, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
R. Kessler, The Univ. of Chicago (United States)
D. L. Burke, SLAC National Accelerator Lab. (United States)
J. L. Marshall, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
J. Wise, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
J.-P. Rheault, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
D. W. Carona, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
S. Boada, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
T. Prochaska, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
R. Allen, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8446:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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